At the US Open Swimming Championships in Greensboro, North Carolina, on Wednesday, Katie Ledecky, a seven-time Olympian, won the 800-meter freestyle with ease.
Ledecky, the reigning three-time Olympic gold medallist and 800 free world champion, won by nearly 15 seconds with a timing of 8 minutes, 15.91 seconds.
Ledecky’s time was about two seconds slower than her winning time from the US Open the previous year, and it was more than 11 seconds slower than her world record from 2016.
But the meet is a staging post for the 26-year-old Ledecky as she builds up towards next year’s Olympics, where she hopes to become the first woman ever to win four Olympic gold medals in one event.
The US Olympic team trials will be held in Indianapolis on June 15-23, 2024.
Fellow Olympian Paige Madden of Arizona State University, who is guided by former Michael Phelps coach Bob Bowman, finished second in 8:29.91.
Third place went to Jillian Cox, a 19-year-old Texan who placed sixth at the July World Championships in Fukuoka.
On Thursday, Ledecky will return to the water for the 400-meter freestyle heats.
After Tunisia’s world champion Ahmed Hafnaoui withdrew, Tokyo Olympic winner Bobby Finke was the clear favorite in the men’s 800 free, but he unexpectedly ended off the podium.
In a timing of 7:50.49, Charlie Clark overtook David Johnston, and Ilia Sibirtsev finished third with a time of 7:54.36, just ahead of Finke.
The meet continues until Saturday and features several international stars alongside American Olympians with Canadian sensation Summer McIntosh, a 17-year-old four-time world champion, set to challenge Ledecky in the 400m free.
Seven-time Olympic gold medalist Caeleb Dressel will race as he continues his return to the sport after a lengthy break.